Jane the young woman is now entering a milieu where her deprived childhood is in stark contrast with her employer’s wealth.  She has just emerged from a Victorian penitentiary masquerading as a charity orphanage, where even adequate quantities of institutional food weren’t forthcoming.

Gifts were hardly something she knew about.  Her detached response is perfect.

 

‘Are you fond of presents?’ and he searched my face with eyes that I saw were dark, irate and piercing.

‘I hardly know, sir; I have little experience of them: they are generally thought pleasant things.’

 

Source: Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre (London: Bounty Books, 2012 (1847)), p. 156

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